Pretivm continues to stride forward in the areas of environmental, social and governance performance. As a corporate neighbour in northwest British Columbia (BC), we invest time and resources to sustain the positive working relationships with local communities and First Nations that strengthen our Brucejack Mine operations, while supporting economic and social improvements in the region. We see employment as a key driver in this area. In 2019, over half of our direct employee workforce were residents of northern BC, with 90% from the province overall.
We continue to maintain a focus on sound environmental management, remaining in material compliance with the comprehensive permitting requirements established by the province of BC and the federal government while achieving year-over-year improvement in water use efficiency and spill prevention. The decision early on to connect the Brucejack Mine to the BC Hydro power grid has provided cost-effective electricity while making a demonstrated difference in the size of our carbon footprint: in 2019, more than 80,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions were displaced from comparable diesel power generation.
The protection of the health of our workforce and the citizens of neighbouring communities during an unprecedented global pandemic serves to heighten the importance of taking a holistic view of sustainability. We are doing everything in our power to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on our operations and our employees and their families. We have taken a significant number of steps to protect our workforce and limit the risk of COVID-19 exposure to avoid an illness outbreak and safely maintain business continuity.
Workplace safety is a journey of critical importance in all aspects of mine operations. Unfortunately, at the end of July 2020 we experienced a tragic event at Brucejack which resulted in a fatality. This devastating loss has had a significant impact on the entire company and reminds us that maintaining a high standard of safety and a strong safety culture is fundamental to everything we do. Of all areas to focus our efforts on continuous improvement, this is the most important.
The responsibility to improve our sustainability performance is shared across all levels of the company. As our management team and Board establish the operational targets to guide our continued success as a gold mining company, the targets pertaining to environmental, social, and governance performance will be integral. I look forward to updating you on our progress.
Jacques Perron, President, CEO and Director of Pretium Resources Inc.